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“To be myself again”: Perceived benefits of group-based exercise for colorectal cancer patients.


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“To be myself again”: Perceived benefits of group-based exercise for colorectal cancer patients.
Tortosa-Martínez, J.
Beltrán-Carrillo, Vicente J.  
Romero-Elías, María  
Ruiz-Casado, A.
Jiménez-Loaisa, Alejandro  
González-Cutre, David  
Departamentos de la UMH::Ciencias del Deporte
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Purpose: To explore the perceived benefits of a group-based exercise program for patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Methods: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with all participants (n = 25) at the end of the exercise program (patients, relatives and healthcare professionals). The exercise instructor in charge of the exercise program with CRC patients also collected observational field notes throughout a research diary. Results: Three main themes related to exercise as a coping strategy were obtained: (a) physical recovery; (b) psychosocial well-being, and (c) reconnection with their embodied selves and normal lives. Physical recovery included a perceived increase in fitness and a reduction in physical side-effects. Psychosocial well-being included perceived benefits in self-confidence, sense of control, reduced fear, feeling of being useful, sense of achievement, positive thinking and avoiding depression. All the physical and psychosocial benefits helped patients reconnect with their embodied selves, engage in activities practised before the diagnoses, improve their body image, avoid stigma, and increase their social life beyond cancer diagnoses. In this sense, some patients held on to their past selves, trying to keep or recover normality in their lives, while others acknowledged that they might not be the same person anymore, with exercise being part of this new identity. Conclusions: This study shows that exercise is a coping strategy that benefitted CRC patients in several ways related to their physical and psychosocial quality of life.
quality of life
physical activity
embodied self
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CDU: Deportes
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Artículos Ciencias del Deporte

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